HealthPersonalPsychology

Internal vs. external: battles with anxiety

The non-controlled version of my life was waking up with anxiety attacks and not being able to breathe. The shower was my personal hell. The steam from the hot water and the fogging of the mirrors made me feel as though my lungs were constricting. Then I was even more paranoid about getting assignments done and driving.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), as many as 40 million individuals are experiencing anxiety every day in the United States. So if you think you’re the only one, then I hope this sheds some light on the issue.

As many as 40 million individuals are experiencing anxiety every day in the United States. Photo courtesy of Grace Stocksdale/Connect.

As many as 40 million individuals are experiencing anxiety every day in the United States. Photo courtesy of Grace Stocksdale/Connect.

Anxiety is a daily struggle for me, and I want to bring some insight for those who may be struggling as well. I don’t usually like to get this personal, I am not sure anyone does, but I want to help make a difference in someone’s life if I can.

Despite everyone having different experiences, relying on personal experience seems the best way to connect with those who are experiencing it.

My experience

My morning routine starts out with me waking up and immediately taking my anxiety medication. I do this to prevent an anxiety attack first thing in the morning. Of course, that doesn’t always work. Some days I wake up feeling anxious, those thoughts occasionally disrupt my entire day.

My morning internal struggle can look something like this:

“Am I going to be late?”

“What if traffic is bad?”

“Am I going to remember my lunch and all my art supplies?’

“What IF I am late?”

“Grace, it doesn’t matter if you’re late it will be okay.”

“Am I spending too much time in the shower?”

“I feel like I didn’t get enough sleep last night.”

“I need this, this and this because WHAT IF!?”

“I’m going to leave the house early so I can get a parking spot, but I really know I’m doing this because I’m afraid of traffic and driving.”

Those are just a few thoughts that wander through my head, and every morning isn’t this way.

So that is the controlled version of my life.

But not living like that and getting help was the best thing I ever did. I eventually want to get off the medication. It will take time and nothing works itself out fast, but feeling like you can’t catch your breath all the time is no way to live.

Quick facts

Additionally, there are many different types of anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, agoraphobia and social anxiety disorder (SAD).

There are many triggers that can cause anxiety to emerge. It could be a traumatic life event, an in-balance of brain chemicals or even a genetic predisposition.

All in all

My trigger was starting college and starting to drive at the same time. I thought there was a stigma surrounding going to the doctor and getting medicine, but that’s not the case at all.

When I went to the doctor, I was surprised how at ease I became. My doctor listened to everything I was experiencing. When I left her office, I felt light and elated.

I’m still not perfect today, but I feel well enough to get in the shower every morning and continue on with my day.

Fight the stigma, be you, and the best person you can be.

Additional information on anxiety

If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, click here to visit The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).

For additional resources, click here for a resource list from Everyday Health.

 

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